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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Catching Shad #13707953 09/22/20 05:03 PM
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learnin to fish Offline OP
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I have a couple of questionS on catching shad. I watched some videos and asked lots of question on TFF about nets etc. I can consistently throw my 7 foot net and have it spread out properly so am pleased with that part. Went to the lake 2 weeks ago and found all the shad I needed in one cast in a creek in about 15 FOW that I found on the graph. This past Sunday went out again to the same spot and no shad to be found. Went up another creek, guessing not far enough and threw a dozen times and only caught 4 shad. Fished those 4 until they were gone (caught 3 striper on 4 shad) then went looking for more shad. Finally found a good spot at the back of another creek that had lots of aquatic plants growing etc and caught all the 4“- 6” Shad I needed.

Questions are:
Is it normal to have to hunt like that for shad? We didn’t start until 8:00 or so at the first spot. Was I too late in the morning? Sun didn’t come up until 7:15.

When the weather turns cold, where do the shad go? Do they stay in the backs of creeks? Move to deeper water?

Should I be able to catch them mid morning like I did on Sunday or are they better in the early morning?

Where are other good places to find shad other than backs of creeks? I have heard boat ramps but with all the boat traffic how does that work?

I mostly fish Whitney and Waco (Army Corps lakes) so no dock lights that I know of to look for shad.
Not asking for anyone’s secret shad honey holes just some direction on habits and areas to look for them. We fish lots during the winter so would like input on cold weather patterns.

Thanks for any suggestions you can give.

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Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13707996 09/22/20 05:38 PM
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I'm kind of in the same boat your in and have gotten pretty successful catching shad early and again mid day if needed. I have found that reading the water early in the morning you can find them simply back in just about any back water. Just watch for the nervous water or them tailing. However the last couple of outings I have had to resort to getting out in deeper water and finding them with the graph then trying to throw on them. Last weekend it took me a couple hours to get enough for us to fish with.

I really want to know going into the colder months what technique people use to find and catch enough to have a good outing. I too fish Waco and Whitney so any input would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13708018 09/22/20 05:55 PM
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First you need to differentiate between what species of shad you are catching. Threadfin will act totally different than gizzards. My experience I do better catching thread fins before daylight under lights and most of the time in 10-15 ft water most of the yr. LED lights on your boat will help. I like to find sandy beach type areas in fairly clean water. Look and listen for FLIPS. Take a spot light and scan the water. As it gets light they will move shallower. Watch the shore line and look for Herons. They are doing the same thing you are.

Gizzards look for dirty water and trash. During the summer and warm months they usually can be found in 10ft of water or less. Creeks are a good place to start. The hotter it gets the further back go. Again look and listen for flips and look for Herons.

Winter same applies but go deep 25,30 40 ft if not deeper. Get the Mepps deep hole net.

On Buchanan during the dead of winter I know of a shad hole that is shaped like a bowl and probably of 50yd circumference. Its about 35-40 deep in the center. If it is below 50 I can go in there and catch all the gizzards I want in just a couple of throws. The colder it is closer to the center I go. Only one other guy knows of this hole that I am aware of.

Last Shad are more finicky than women. Once you think you have them peg they go on and change their mind.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13708064 09/22/20 06:22 PM
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Really good info. Please clarify the LED lights on your boat. Are you putting out floating LED lights to attract shad or LED lights physically on the boat to help see the surface of the water?

In the winter do the deep shad holes need to be in open water or will a creek with a really deep hole work?

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13708076 09/22/20 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by learnin to fish
Really good info. Please clarify the LED lights on your boat. Are you putting out floating LED lights to attract shad or LED lights physically on the boat to help see the surface of the water?

In the winter do the deep shad holes need to be in open water or will a creek with a really deep hole work?


LED light strips that go down both sides of you boat. Usually mounted underneath your rub rail.

The deep hole nets have a mesh tape sewn in at the bottom to help keep the net open as it descends to the bottom in the deep water.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13729760 10/13/20 04:46 PM
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The advice given on this thread has been very helpful and we had a really good weekend catching striper with shad.

My question is this: I caught plenty of shad this weekend but had lots of 2” shad get caught up in the net and died pulling a them out. I have a 6th old salt net with 3/8 mesh. Do I need to go to a 1/4 mesh? Maybe another brand of net? Does anyone else have this problem?

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13729772 10/13/20 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by learnin to fish
The advice given on this thread has been very helpful and we had a really good weekend catching striper with shad.

My question is this: I caught plenty of shad this weekend but had lots of 2” shad get caught up in the net and died pulling a them out. I have a 6th old salt net with 3/8 mesh. Do I need to go to a 1/4 mesh? Maybe another brand of net? Does anyone else have this problem?



it's a necessary evil. Tighter mesh will sink much slower due to increased drag. Would likely need much more lead to offset.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13729825 10/13/20 06:13 PM
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As the water temps drop the shad will be moving deeper relating to the river channel, a 7' radius taped net will your best best. The tape will allow the net to stay open all the the way to the bottom. Most taped nets are sold as deep water nets and come with 40-50' rope. The wider the mesh the father the drop.

Last edited by 44 Diesel; 10/13/20 06:29 PM.
Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13729879 10/13/20 07:07 PM
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Any particular brand net you recommend? 3/8” mesh or larger due to depth? Will you find the shad in deeper water at the mouth of creeks or next to the river channels?

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13730011 10/13/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by learnin to fish
Any particular brand net you recommend? 3/8” mesh or larger due to depth? Will you find the shad in deeper water at the mouth of creeks or next to the river channels?


Fitec GS1500 model # 11970 is a good one if you can find it in stock somewhere. There are some others as well. Just want tape and as much weight/radius foot you can get. 1.25lb - 1.5lb/rad food ideal. These type nets get pricey.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13730390 10/14/20 02:47 AM
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If I can piggyback on this thread, what diameter cast net do y’all recommend ?

Re: Catching Shad [Re: Drycreek3189] #13730398 10/14/20 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189
If I can piggyback on this thread, what diameter cast net do y’all recommend ?



14', as it's the largest you can legally throw in Texas

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13730404 10/14/20 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by learnin to fish
Any particular brand net you recommend? 3/8” mesh or larger due to depth? Will you find the shad in deeper water at the mouth of creeks or next to the river channels?



I will normally graph the river channel. They maybe anywhere from from the edges to right in the middle of it. But usually in the winter if you find shad you will find the stripers near by so I bypass the live bait and cast net and break out the deadstick rigs cheers

Re: Catching Shad [Re: 44 Diesel] #13730454 10/14/20 05:24 AM
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Yes sir! Can’t wait to put the net up get out the flukes!


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Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13730557 10/14/20 12:12 PM
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Those 2 inch shad that die in the net are a treasure for the live bait fishermen. Keep everyone you can and use them for chum when you fish. Free food has an amazing effect on a school of hungry fish and will make a big difference on your catch rate. Waste not; want not,

Re: Catching Shad [Re: beltonbill] #13730662 10/14/20 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by beltonbill
Those 2 inch shad that die in the net are a treasure for the live bait fishermen. Keep everyone you can and use them for chum when you fish. Free food has an amazing effect on a school of hungry fish and will make a big difference on your catch rate. Waste not; want not,


You are correct! A commonplace saltwater tactic that most freshwater fishermen overlook.

Works awesome with small live shad over a brush pile full of finicky crappie as well. They light up!

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13730830 10/14/20 03:36 PM
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It's like that. Some days it's a one cast deal and you have all the shad you can use. because I often go out in the middle of the day this time of year, I can spend a couple hours catching shad. They tend to scatter in the day and go a little deeper. If you are going out in the evening to catch shad they should be in the same place unless the local fish and birds have eaten most of them. This can happen and I see it often at Possum Kingdom when shad are plentiful in Neely Slough the sides of the bank will be heavily populated with snowy egrets, cormorants and Blue Herons. These birds can wipe out entire schools fast, especially in clear water.


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Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13740728 10/23/20 03:41 AM
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Fitec GS1500 model 13070 7ft radius 5/16 mesh. this is the answer to hanging the baits in the net. you will hang a few very small baits in this 5/16 mesh but not the ones that you could use for striper . this made all the difference in my bait catching. It's heavy and bulky and hard to throw but I've been catching bait in 10-25 ft of water with no problem. it's expensive but worth it to me , call fitec direct to order it . it doesnt show up on the online store.

Re: Catching Shad [Re: learnin to fish] #13741855 10/24/20 02:40 AM
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In the winter the shad will normally be deeper early and then as the sun warms up the water i have found them in 1' of water. One winter a buddy was sitting in my boat middle of the day. We were taking a shore break and getting ready to head back out in the afternoon. He told me that there were all these minnows swimming under the boat. He was from Indiana so he did not know shad. I said "you idiot that is the bait we have been looking for and they are shad". Cold winter day and when the sunlight heated up the water the threadfins headed to shallow water.


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